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Norie Dimeo-Ediger, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, dimeo-ediger@ofri.org (Presenter)

 

Forests offer a great opportunity for teaching geography and in Oregon, nearly 50 percent of our state’s 61 million acres is forestland. Our forests supply renewable resources for lumber, paper and heating, along with jobs that support families and communities as well as an active playground and a quiet retreat. Because we depend so profoundly on our forests, being knowledgeable about them is crucial for all Oregonians. We need to understand how we are connected to them ecologically, economically and socially. Using forests as a context for teaching can enrich student learning and extend it beyond the classroom walls. One instructional strategy that can be used effectively to connect students to the forest is service-learning. Service-learning is a nationally recognized teaching strategy that integrates meaningful community service with classroom instruction. Oregon forests offer an array of service-learning opportunities that can help connect students with the natural world. The session will include a discussion of how the program was developed; steps that are planned to extend the benefit and use of the program and the professional development opportunities that support teachers’ ability and motivation to implement the program.